ORGANIZING NOTES 

June 27, 2023

        When We Organize We Win

Join Community and Labor struggles that make a difference

With Organizing Notes, ORMA is reaching out to our diverse membership, telling the stories about our organization and our allies, while offering opportunities for engagement in climate, community, education, labor, and social justice actions that make a difference to millions of people across the state. When our work has an impact it is because people like you contribute time and energy. Please use

THIS FORM to let us know how you would like to become more engaged.   If there is an issue that needs attention and you think ORMA needs to focus on, and you can help make that happen, tell us about it. Invest in Change Now!If 

      If you would like to work with ORMA Members on

  • Climate Change
  • Community-Based Alternative Emergency Response Teams
  • Ranked-Choice Voting
  • Housing For All         
 

FALL RIVER

Our Revolution Greater Fall River was an outgrowth of the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016. Our Revolution was supposed to be catalyzing the grassroots in America, and that is what we have tried to do. We have met every month since, for one hour from 6-7 on the second Thursday of the month in the community room of the Unitarian Society on Fall River. We have no official officers, although the one person who is a member of the Unitarian Society lets us in every month and I generally take minutes, and other people help to run our Facebook page, our Google discussion group and our mailing list. We pass the hat periodically to make a donation to the Unitarians for the use of their building.

The most recent issue we have taken on was the reorganization of the Democratic City Committee in Fall River: we had tried to elect a chair 3 years ago at the time of the Presidential Primary because it had been very somnolent, but we lost by 3 votes to someone who energetically recruited her friends and relatives for the election and then proceeded to do nothing. And more nothing. And then resigned and left the Democratic party a few months ago — so it was time to try again. This time we won, the chair and vice chair of the Democratic City Committee in Fall River are now members of Our Revolution Greater Fall River, all nine wards have chairs and meetings are happening.

Affordable housing is a huge issue in Fall River and likely to get worse, as we’re slated for having commuter rail arrive sometime next year, which will probably cause people with good jobs in the Boston area to move here, pushing the immigrants and minimum/low wage workers who are our grass roots (average income $26,000) farther into poverty. There isn’t enough housing for the homeless, the city closes down the tent cities that people try to build. One of our members is a realtor and gave a presentation on the Tiny House movement, the economics of them, the legal challenges. There are a number of abandoned properties around that would make wonderful sites for such villages, we are trying to get this idea into the discussion of what to do with all the federal money that is available these days.

There have been issues with our police department: there was an unarmed man who was shot dead in his own apartment by two police officers who claimed self-defense, and there was a statement in support of the man who killed George Floyd that was briefly posted on the Fall River Police Department Facebook page. The Chief of Police came to one of our meetings, and for a while we were standing out in front of the Police Station with Black Lives Matter signs every Wednesday until they dealt with these matters.

We showed up en masse in support of Drag Story Hours at the Public Library last winter, when battalions of outside agitators from western Massachusetts were coming to town to disrupt them. Also we endorsed and supported the successful campaign of Paul Heroux for Sheriff of Bristol County last year, defeating a Trumper who had been in office for 25 years and had produced one of the highest rates of suicide in jails in the country. We held a commemoration of Hiroshima Day last August 6th, and a potluck supper on Martin Luther King Day in January. We are starting an initiative to take on plastic litter in the form of plastic bags and nip bottles. There is no shortage of things to do when you take on the job of tending the grass roots in our flawed world. – Judith Conrad judithconrad@mindspring.com

 

ACTION ALERT:

Write the State Joint Committee on Election Laws

in support of Ranked Choice Voting

Please click here to spend one minute to pass along a prewritten letter asking the members of the State Joint Committee on Election Laws to report favorably on the Local Option Ranked Choice Voting Bill (H711/S433) and the four home rule petitions from towns and cities which have already endorsed the use of RCV locally. 

 

Massachusetts has one of the highest rates of all the states in returning incumbents to elected office. This is not healthy for our democracy and hinders new policy ideas and fresh energy from entering government. 

 

ORMA supports Ranked Choice Voting because it breaks the incumbency log jam, candidates must have over 50% support of the voters to be elected and studies show a decrease in negative campaigning in RCV elections. Click here

 

Please read below, ORMA’s testimony on Ranked Choice Voting submitted at the hearing last Wednesday, June 21st.

ORMA’s Testimony to the Joint Election Laws Committee on Ranked Choice Voting

 

Joint Committee on Election Laws

Massachusetts State House

24 Beacon St.

Boston, MA 02133

 

Our Revolution MA Supports the Local Option Ranked Choice Voting Bill (H711/S433) and Home Rule Petitions for Ranked Choice Voting in Massachusetts Communities

 

Dear Members of the Joint Committee on Election Laws,

 

I am providing a written testimony on behalf of Our Revolution Massachusetts, a state-based group with more than 10,00 members, in strong support of the Local Option Ranked Choice Voting Bill (H711/S433) and the legislative approval of the home rule petitions submitted to the State House by communities that have voted to adopt Ranked Choice Voting in their local elections.

 

Our Revolution MA is a nonpartisan grassroots organization that actively practices Ranked Choice Voting in our own voting processes. We are deeply committed to challenging power and prioritizing the needs of all people and our planet. Our steadfast dedication to building a statewide movement for justice in areas such as economics, race, social issues, sexuality, gender, and the environment reinforces our belief that Ranked Choice Voting is an essential reform that will bring immense benefits to the people of Massachusetts, transcending party lines.

 

The Local Option RCV Bill (H711/S433) and the home rule petitions represent an opportunity to empower Massachusetts communities and give them the freedom to choose Ranked Choice Voting for their local elections. These initiatives are a testament to the democratic process and the desire of communities to have a fair and inclusive electoral system.

 

Ranked choice voting is not a partisan issue; it is about strengthening our democracy, promoting fair representation, and empowering voters. It is a proven method that encourages collaboration, fosters positive campaigns, and ensures elected officials have broad-based support from their constituents.

 

Ranked choice voting allows voters to express their true preferences without the fear of wasting their vote. It eliminates the need for strategic voting and ensures that voters can choose the candidate who best aligns with their values, even if that candidate may not be the perceived frontrunner. This empowers voters and encourages a more engaged and informed electorate.

 

Additionally, ranked choice voting promotes a more civil and issue-based political environment. Candidates are incentivized to reach out to a broader base of voters and seek coalition-building, as they need to appeal not only to their base but also to voters who may rank them as a second or third choice. This leads to more constructive and collaborative campaigns focusing on policy discussions and solutions rather than negative attacks.

 

Moreover, ranked choice voting enhances representation and ensures that elected officials have majority support. Allowing voters to rank candidates in order of preference helps elect candidates who are broadly acceptable and have support beyond their core base. This fosters a more inclusive democracy where the voices and choices of all voters are respected and valued.

 

Importantly, ranked choice voting is a nonpartisan reform that has gained support from leaders across the political spectrum. It has been successfully implemented in cities and states nationwide, conservative-leaning regions, and has demonstrated positive outcomes in voter satisfaction, increased turnout, and more diverse candidates running for office.

 

We urge the Committee to support and advance the Local Option RCV Bill (H711/S433) and the home rule petitions submitted by Massachusetts communities. Ranked Choice Voting is a common sense reform that will significantly benefit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, strengthening our democracy and empowering voters to have a stronger voice in their local elections.

 

Thank you, you have the opportunity to build a stronger and more democratic future for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

 

Sincerely,

Alex Crowley

Our Revolution Massachusetts

 

Massport is Building A Carbon Bomb!

Stop Private Jet Expansion at Hanscom or Anywhere!

Who Pays for the Convenience of Billionaires? We do!

All of the progress Massachusetts has made confronting the climate crisis will go up in smoke (literally) if the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) has its way! 

 

As pointed out by the Boston Globe and on WBUR, this is a bad idea. Massport (accountable only to the Governor) is planning a massive expansion of private jet capacity at Hanscom Field, building 27 new hangars, and tripling capacity of the field.  

Private jets emit about ten times more carbon per mile traveled than commercial aviation, and on shorter hauls that number is even higher: Flights from New York to Washington, D.C., are responsible for about 45 times the emissions per passenger as commercial planes flying the same route, and more than 1,100 times the emissions per passenger as train travel. 

 

In our wretchedly unequal society, the number of these flights is growing rapidly, up 11 percent last year. And despite the common assumption that all this travel is important business leaders flying to important business meetings, the majority of flights are to luxury tourist destinations, with Valentine’s Day trips to Paris the most common.

 

Massport’s Carbon Bomb is a direct and immediate threat to the commonwealth’s efforts to combat climate change. The expanded jet travel will potentially negate a decade’s worth of progress made by the expansion of rooftop solar. 

 

Locally the proposed expansion will destroy trees, wetlands, and endangered species. Local brooks and rivers would be subject to intense toxic runoff from such jet activities as deicing, fuel spills, and chemical fire-suppression.  Well over 25 acres would be deforested and 28 acres forever paved. 

 

Here’s how you can help:

 

 

You, and all of us, pay the price for this luxury convenience for the billionaires, and corporate and political elites. The emissions directly worsen the climate crisis, while the owners get huge tax breaks, avoiding sales and property taxes. 

 

It’s time to stop the giveaways that are making the planet unliveable!

 

ORMA Climate Crisis Working Group

climate@ourrevolutionma.com

 

Healthcare Is A Human Right

Massachusetts Medicare for All, (H1239/ S744), establishes a state single payer health care system, provides healthcare for all Massachsusetts residents and individuals who work more than 20 hours per week in the state, without premiums, co-pays or deductibles. Dental, vision and long term care would be covered as well as out-patient and hospital care. The bottom 90% of MA residents would pay less for their healthcare, only the top 10% would pay more.

 

If you live in State Representatives

 Arena-DeRosa, Arriaga,Ashe,Balser,Barber,Barrett III,Blais

Brady,Capano,Carey,Comerford,Connolly,Decker,DiDomenico,Doherty

Domb,Donoghue,DuBois,Duffy,Eldridge,Farley-Bouvier,Feeney,Garlick

Gentile,Gonzalez,Hawkins,Higgins,Kearney,LeBoeuf,Lewis,Linsky,Madaro

Mendes,Montano,Murray,O. Ramos,Owens,Pignatelli,Sabadosa

Scarsdale,Sena,Stanley,Ultrino,Uyterhoeven,Vitolo,Whipps,Williams

districts, please thank them for co-sponsoring MA Medicare for All HERE .

 

If you live in State Representatives

Arciero,Armini, Ayers,Barrows,Berthiaume,Biele,Boldyga,Cabral,Cahill,

Cassidy,Cataldo,Chan,Cicolo,Consalvo,Cruz,Cusack,Cutler,D’Emilia, Day,DeCoste,Diggs,Donohue,Donato,Driscoll,Durant,Elliott,Ferguson,

Fernandes,Ferrante,Finn,Fiola,Flanagan,Fluke-Oakley,Frost,Galvin,

Garbally,Garcia,Garry,Giannino,Gifford,Gordon,Gregoire,Haddad,Haggerty

,Hamilton,Hendricks,Hogan,Holmes,Honan,Howard,Howitt,Hunt,Jones,

Kane,Kassner,Keefe,Kerans,Khan,Kilcoyne,Kushmerek,LaNatra,Lawn,

Lipper-Garabedian,Livingstone,Lombardo,Macgregor,Mahoney,

Mariano,Markey, McGonagle,McKenna,McMurty,Meschino,Michlewitz,

Mom,F. Moran,J. Moran,M. Moran,Muradian,Muratore,Murphy,Nguyen,O’Day,

Orall, Parisella,Paulino,Peake,Pease,Peisch,Philips,Puppalo,Ramos,

Reyes,Robertson,Rogers,J. Rogers,Roy,Ryan,Saunders,Scanlon,Schmid,

Shand,Silvia,Smola,Soter,Sousa,Straus,Sullivan-Almeida,Turco,Tyler,

Vargas, Vaughn, Vieira,Walsh,Wong,Worrell,Xiarhos,Zlotnik

districts, please urge them to sign on to the bill HERE.

 

If you live in State Senators

Brady,Comerford,Connolly,Creem,Cyr,DiDomenico

Duffy,Edwards,Eldridge,Feeney,Garlick,Gentile,Gomez,Howard,Jehlen

Keenan,Lewis,Mark,Mendes,Miranda,Oliviera,Rausch,Sabadosa

Districts please thank them for co-sponsoring MA Medicare for All HERE.

 

If you live in State Senators districts

Barrett,Brownsberger,Collins,Crighton,Cronin,Fattman,Finegold

Friedman,E. Kennedy,R. Kennedy,Joan Lovely,Montigny,Moore,Moran

O’Connor,Pacheco,Payano,Rodrigues,Rush,Spilka,Tarr,Timilty,Velis

please urge them to sign on to the bill HERE

 

There is widespread support amongst people in Massachusetts for the Medicare for All Bill. Price-gouging corporations should not get to profit off our sickness.There has  been a flood of early retirements by Physicians who are tired of being  insurance agents, using their valuable time to worry about coverage for their patients instead of spending  time caring for them, a result of an “out of control” private profit making healthcare industry. 

 

Read the report back below from a Jamaica Plain Progressives activist who canvassed in the recent Medicare For All non-binding referendum.

 

Report Back from a Jamaica Plain

Progressives M4A Activist

2022 M4A Ballot Initiative

“Healthcare is a Human Right”. We’ve heard that a lot (maybe not enough!), and it is something that most Americans agree with, even a majority of Republicans. Unlike almost all the industrial nations and many nations in the Global South, the US, the richest nation in the world, does not have universal healthcare.

The issue gained a lot of momentum during Bernie Sanders presidential runs. It was a key question during the candidate debates. Even with a worldwide pandemic, and US healthcare already the most expensive in the world with continually worsening outcomes, we are still battling to get what we need and deserve.

Although a national universal healthcare system would be optimal, the dysfunction in Washington has led activists to accelerate the fight for a statewide plan. Canada began with the province of Saskatchewan being the first to implement, then other provinces followed and eventually they passed and established a national plan.

In Massachusetts, Mass Care has been leading the effort to get the state legislature to pass a statewide plan. We (I am a Mass Care member) had UMass economist Gerry Friedman put together a funding plan, as one of the first questions and one of the main reasons other states have had difficulties is-how do you pay for it?

This past election cycle, Mass Care helped organize a non-binding (we presently don’t have the millions to run a binding) campaign in 20 districts across Massachusetts. The wording of the question said that the rep in the district will be 

“instructed to vote for legislation to create a single payer system of universal health care that would provide all Massachusetts residents with comprehensive health care coverage including the freedom choose doctors and other health care professionals, facilities and services and that would eliminate the role of insurance companies in healthcare by creating a publicly administered insurance trust fund”

In the Suffolk 15th District, mostly Jamaica Plain, I organized the effort to collect signatures to get on the ballot. Our team drew on political and medical related networks in the neighborhood and local community organization JP Progressives.

Although we had to “compete” with activists working on the “millionaires tax” and for various progressive candidates, we were able to get dozens of volunteers to help get signatures. We were out at community events, supermarkets and other commercial and common areas consistently with petitions and literature engaging people in conversation. The reaction from local residents was almost always positive, with people wanting to sign, often stopping to tell stories of their experiences with the healthcare system as either a patient or provider. We also encountered many people from countries that already have a universal system in place-Canada, Germany and England among them who made it a point to stop and talk about how nonsensical the US system is and how, although not perfect, they really liked and supported the system in their home country.

After getting the required signatures, the initiative passed in all 20 districts and by 88% in Jamaica Plain, the highest total in the State. 

We have a lot of work to do, and we can only accomplish our goal by building a strong grass roots movement throughout the state, and the country that cannot be ignored.

Mass Care had it’s first Lobby Day since the pandemic last month, which was a success as we were able to get some new legislators to sign on and started connecting with others who were open to it, but had questions.

We always need more troops, especially since it is an all volunteer organization except for one paid staff person.  To join Mass Care go to masscare.org to sign up or you can reach out to me at brucefleischer75@gmail.com

 

Bruce Fleischer, Jamaica Plain Progressives

 

Progressive Mass Summer Potluck

Come enjoy fine summer weather, good food and refreshing beverages, and great conversation with fellow progressives! It’s free to join in the fun! If you can, please bring a dish to share.

Join the Progressive Mass Summer Potluck on Saturday, July 29 at 4pm! RSVP here!

Support the East Boston MOF effort to stop the Haul Road

 

Our allies in Mothers Out Front are fighting to protect the frontline communities near Logan Airport (East Boston, Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop). Communities that have already shouldered the burden of industrial pollution stemming from the airport and highway, as well as regional stockpiles of jet fuel, residential heating oil, and road salt.

The most recent assault comes in the form of a proposed “Haul Road”. Construction of this road, on unused railroad right-of-way, would result in 3,000 trucks passing through these communities, spewing emissions into places like libraries, schools, playgrounds, and more across surrounding communities.Activists have spent years mitigating the harm inflicted by Logan expansion and the removal of the central artery during the Big Dig, opening up access to the waterfront at Piers Park, and more. Opposing this haul road now prevents us from having to mitigate and undo poor decisions in the future. Let’s learn from our past and focus on protecting communities and the access to the waterfront.

 

Sign the petition and tell the Mass Department of Transportation “NO HAUL ROAD”!

Progressive Massachusetts is launching a biweekly (every other week) Activist Afternoons series on Sunday, June 11, at 3:30pm. Sign up — and share the link — here We will be using this series to make calls to voters about calling their legislators on key issues. It’s a great activity for long-time activist pros as well as people looking to dip their toes in. You may remember that JPP had an ongoing Activist Afternoon in the pre-pandemic days–now that PM is starting one we’ll have even greater reach!

MassDems for Reform (group spearheaded by leaders of Our Revolution MA) is looking for people to help research and prepare a state party convention resolution to prohibit or curtail the use of “Dark Money” in our state primaries. If you are interested email

MassDemsforReform@gmail.com

         Sign up here for updates

 

ORMA depends on your support to continue Bernie’s Political Revolution to create a society, a politics, and an economy that works for everyone, not just billionaires, corporations and the political elite.

If you value Organizing Notes and its twice a month distribution schedule, please make a donation to ensure its continued existence.

Invest in Change Now!

 

Please send requests for action items, articles or upcoming events

for the next Organizing Notes to 

beccobrien.orma@gmail.com

no later than Thursday, June 22nd

 

We’d love to have you send us your favorite pictures of Bernie here in MA!

 

Campaigns End, Movements Endure


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